Friday, December 10, 2010

ION Audio TAILGATER Portable Sound System Review

When it comes to football, and game day, there is a lot of fun to be had. One of the best, other than the actual game, is tailgating. Hanging out with friends, eating good food, and talking about the game is always fun. But what about tunes?

Thanks to the Ion TAILGATER, you are covered. The $149.99 MSRP TAILGATER looks like a small guitar amp and speaker. It has a built-in eight hour battery, and an iPod dock. Just connect your iPod and you have instant tunes. There are connections for two microphones. There are also volume controls for master volume, and for each of the two microphones and the iPod. The box is a ported design with a small part, a 6 ½ woofer, and a 1” tweeter and 20 watts of power. It also accepts other devices through a stereo RCA input. On the rear of the device there is also a series of LED lights to tell you the status of the battery life. A recharge takes 6 hours.

Construction quality appears good. The enclosure feels fairly solid, given my knock test a few times. But with it being electronic gear, I would not put it to the test by throwing it around. The volume controls are simple silver plastic, but gets the job done. Listed at over 20lbs. it does feel pretty solid.

The TAILGATOR proved to be simple to use. Just connect your iPod, select the songs to play, and crank up the volume. Your tailgate party is instantly livened up. Whether it is an actual tailgate party, a day at the beach, at the park, or just hanging out with neighbors in the driveway/garage, you have tunes.

I will say up front that this is not an audiophile speaker like my NHT Classic Three’s. I was not expecting audiophile sound. But what I did hear was fairly impressive, and was better than I expected. The 2-way ported design played well, and also pretty loud. While turning the volume up full blast yielded distortion, turning it down just a tad helped that.

To test out the sound quality, I threw a bit of different music at it, from Steve Miller Band, to Journey, to Madonna, it all played well and loud. It performed better than expected. The included microphone also sounded great. And for those of you that like karaoke and already know the words, you can sing along with the included microphone which is also pretty solidly made. There are individual volume controls, so you can have the music loud and the mic soft, or just the opposite. And with a 2nd input, you can connect up a 2nd microphone or other instrument.

If you or a loved one is an avid football fan, this could mean trips to the stadium for games. The ION TAILGATOR could be a fun addition and just what the party needed. As such it could make for a great gift for a loved one. I believe the TAILGATER is a great value, and as such has earned our Value award. Congrats! For more information and complete specs, check out their website at: